A year after the deaths of over 60 infants at the government-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has said that the issue was blown out of proportion and blamed internal politics at the hospital for the controversy. Speaking at an event in Lucknow on Saturday evening, Adityanath maintained his stand that there was no shortage of oxygen at the hospital and reasoned that had it been so, then the kids on the ventilator would have died first.
“After the incident came to light, I immediately asked the Director General Health, the Health Minister and the Medical Education Minister to reach the spot and report to me. Next day, I went there myself and came to know that there was no shortage of oxygen. Had it been oxygen shortage then the kids on the ventilator would have died first,” ANI quoted Adityanath as saying.
#WATCH: UP CM Yogi Adityanath speaks on 2017 Gorakhpur infants death case, says, ‘had there been a shortage of oxygen, then the children on ventilator would have died first.’ (25.08.18) pic.twitter.com/lPjoVUmi5P
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) August 26, 2018
More than 60 children, mostly infants, had died at the hospital within a week in August, 2017. There were allegations that the deaths occurred due to disruption in oxygen supply over unpaid bills to the vendor. The BJP-led Uttar Pradesh government, however, had denied that shortage of oxygen led to the deaths.
Following the row, Dr Kafeel Khan, the paediatrician at BRD Medical College Hospital, was arrested but now has been released. The Gorakhpur police has completed its investigation and filed a chargesheet against all the nine accused in the case, including three other doctors besides Khan.
The CM further said that he took the situation seriously after the media started reporting that the figures had gone up from 13 to 59. “I thought they were normal casulties due to Japanese Encephalitis that usually happens at that time of the year. I thought it was a regular news story but then media started reporting the number of deaths from 13 to 59,” Adityanath said.
Pointing his finger at the internal politics of the medical college behind the tragedy, Adityanath said the situation was so grim that the doctors had to be counselled to bring normalcy. “On inquiry about the death figures, I came to know that it was a result of the internal politics of the medical college. It was such a sad situation that we had to counsel the doctors to deal with the issue. I asked them to focus on the root cause of encephalitis and their job at hand,” the CM said.